The Wizards knock off the Pelicans, 113-103 and are now winners of five straight games.
It started off as a a back and forth affair in the Bayou, but the Wizards were able to take control of this game late in the 2nd quarter thanks to some strong defensive play. Daniel Gafford’s defense in particular stood out through out the game, including his five blocks. Gafford was active against those driving at the basket including swatting a couple off the backboard. It certainly did not hurt (well maybe Taj would disagree on that hurt part) that Jonas Valanciunas was ejected in 2nd quarter, due to an elbow to the head of Taj Gibson.
The Wizards did a great job maintaining their lead, that would balloon to as much as 16 points, with great defense through out the 2nd half. The Wizards also had a decisive advantage on the boards (63 to 47), including 13 offensive rebounds. Certainly not having Valanciunas on the floor for the Pelicans helped in that category. Overall this was a great quality win, with the Wizards playing a complete game. They are now 3-0 on this 5-game road trip with the San Antonio Spurs next up, on Monday night.
Gafford making an impact on both ends
Daniel Gafford played perhaps one of the best games he has played this season. His defense was mentioned earlier, but his offense was also key as well. He finished with 21 points. He got some lobs, but he also got some of his points from 2nd chance points. His energy on both ends really set the tone.
Three Point Shooting Early Helped
Wizards for the season average about 11 3s per game, but they got their 3 pointers early in this game, with some hot shooting from Corey Kispert. This team is in the bottom half of 3 pointers made per game, so much of their offense comes in spite of their below average shooting behind the arc, so when they shoot this well, it is a bonus. Although they finished with 11 3s for the game in this one, only one came in the 4th, when the game was more or less decided.